tv Presidential Debate Current October 3, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
zinckers. >> and he'll drink in the car elevator. >> because you're going down sooner or later. thanks kids, we'll see you at the regular time on "talking liberally the stephanie miller show"." ♪ >> al gore: good evening. welcome to the debate tonight. we're here in our beautiful new york studio which is the home of "viewpoint" with eliot spitzer, and "say anything" with joy behar. we're here for the first presidential debate of 2012 between president obama and governor romney. my panelists here with me are governor eliot spitzer, host of
"viewpoint"; cenk uygur, the host and founder of "the young turks"; governor jennifer grandholm, two-time governor of michigan, and the star of the recent democratic convention >> jennifer: you say that to all of the governors. [ laughter ] >> al gore: no. and host of "the war room," and comedian and political commentator, john fugelsang. we are here covering the debate. you'll see the stage in denver there. you see all of their supporters and friends and the folks who are gathered in the denver area for this debate. milling around waiting for the event to start. here on current, we're going to do something different from what the other networks are doing. we're in a new era now.
i'm going to ask cenk uygur to tell you how social media plays into our coverage and the difference it makes in politics in this day and time. >> cenk: absolutely. i'm really looking forward to this debate. you are going to see all of the tweets and get instant fact checking from both sides. in the old school they would spin it right after the debate. all you have to do is stay right here and you will see both sides putting things out there in the middle of the debate. so it will be really interesting to watch it right here on current. and we have michael shure in the war room in san francisco, and he'll break down some of the electoral possibilities, which is narrowing for mitt romney
and david shuster is in denver as well. the debate will start in about 57 minutes. i'm already buzzing. i love these things. >> jennifer: let's go! let's go! >> cenk: and we'll have analysis afterwards as well. vice president gore let me start with you. it looks like mitt romney is significantly down in the important swing states. does your strategy shift now and if so how? >> i think he has to be aggressive, without seeming to be aggressive and i think it's a tricky act for him to pull off. i think that his supporters realize that he is probably behind as the polls indicate and that he needs to really change some minds tonight. i think in some way there's more pressure on president obama simply because the polls
indicate and most people expect that he will win the debate and that's a tough position to be in. but at the same time because governor romney has to do so much more -- he has to change the course of this race tonight, and that puts an enormous amount of pressure on him. so he is going to try to be aggressive, but his advisors in one ear are saying be aggressive, and in the other ear they are saying be a nice guy. the president's popularity ratings are high. you can't be too over the top and come off unlikable. >> cenk: i think that's it exactly. and can he pull off that really tough balance. >> jennifer: the president got the flip of the coin so we'll have the first mark -- remarks. he probably won't be aggressive.
does mitt romney in his first opportunity in response to the president come out swinging. >> cenk: that's a great question. i would -- >> jennifer: well, you would of course. [ laughter ] >> cenk: you guys have been in debates before how do you pull off that balance? >> i'm in cenk's class in terms of the demeanor the vice president is right. he has to be pleasant and do it with a smile. he has got to say you are taking the economy down the wrong path and here is what i will do to change it. he has to be that simple that declarative or else people will tune out quickly. and he has got to talk to his folks immediately. i think a lot of this depends on jim lehrer. i think how aggressive will he be in the questioning and follow
ups? will he become a bipartisan advocate going after inconsistencies? >> jennifer: the format is a little more flexible. so there's an opportunity for mitt romney to not only get his licks in but in response to the president as well. and if he doesn't come out swinging, i think he has let an opportunity pass. >> cenk: and on the other hand john, he can overstep if he is too disrespectful to the president. >> john: of course. yeah i'm here for zinger watch 2012. and i found it curious when his
campaign leaked that he was rehearsing his ad libs a few days ago. but it's worth pointing out governor romney has only debated democrats twice in his career. he did a great job in the primary season not getting too flustered. but when you are being pummelled by seven other candidates it's pretty tough unless it is gingrich, santorum and bachmann. >> when they said zingers, i didn't interpret it that he was going to come out and be funny. because he is not a funny guy. >> right. >> jennifer: but i think he means he is going to go after
him. >> john: but either way i think i was imprudent to telegraph that. >> jennifer: yeah. >> cenk: it's about that overreaching. i can't wait to see how that is going to go down. we have to take a break, and i want to keep it real do you guys prepare zingers before break. so get your answers ready. [ laughter ] >> cenk: all right. and david shuster is in denver. we'll check in with him as well when we return on current. america. bringing jobs home now.
>> cenk: we're back with current's politically direct coverage of the presidential debates. the first ones tonight. we have david shuster in denver, and he'll tell us about the formatting for tonight. what do you have. >> the debate is divided in to six essentially what they are calling pods. there is no opening statement. jim lehrer will pose a question the first three pods are about the economy, the next two about governance, and the last about
health care. what jim lehrer is going to do is pose a question and each candidate will have two minutes to respond, and then the next ten minutes he can go wherever he wants. he can have that talk with each other, or follow up. and that's up with of the things i have to tell you, the candidates and campaigns i am told are a little bit nervous about. they expect jim lehrer to be mildly aggressive but again, the possibility for mitt romney and barack obama to encourage and engage each other should be one of the more intriguing aspects of this debate. >> cenk: so romney can ask president obama a direct question, and the time will be monitored by jim lehrer in a very lose way; is that right? >> that's right. if mitt romney wants to say president obama how do you explain the fact that you said the economy would be doing
better than it has been. jim lehrer can say, president obama why don't you respond. >> cenk: all right. thank you so much. it's really important tonight because this is where mitt romney has to be aggressive. this is the format to be aggressive in. because you can directly challenge the president on all issues. >> the ultimate debating. >> wwd -- worldwide debate wrestling, something like that. >> cenk: real quick, vice president gore did you have a set of lines in your head going into the debate? >> al gore: sometimes, yeah. i often had a half a dozen or so points that i wanted to remember in my head. ann romney said when mitt romney goes out for one of these debates, he writes dad at the
top of the -- kind of touching seriously, i thought. it was nice. but i would immediately write down the five or six key points they wanted to be sure to try to work in somehow. because you can't take any prepared materials in there with you, but you can remember the things that you walk on stage with, and get them down in a hurry. >> cenk: or if you can't remember them, you write them in your head like sarah palin did. >> al gore: michelle obama -- this is their 20th wedding anniversary and she said she was going to make him write on his palm love you honey or something. >> eliot: this is a great way for mitt romney to show a human. >> jennifer: yeah. >> cenk: jennifer did you have
zingers? >> jennifer: absolutely. i wanted to ask the vice president looking at these backgrounds and podiums, doesn't it make your stomach clench? >> al gore: no, i found them exciting and enjoyable in the same way i played a football game. >> jennifer: interesting. i didn't feel that way. i thought they were very hard. i came out with specific points that you want to make but the science of how you receive an attack, decide whether you are going to use your debate real estate to respond to the attack and how quickly you pivot to offense, offense on the point you want to make or offense against your opponent. and that to me is fascinating to watch.
>> john: and we may see both candidates playing it is safe tonight knowing they have two more debates. >> al gore: i don't think so. i think the developed wisdom is the first debate matters the most. >> john: gets the highest rating. >> al gore: yeah and sets the template. and early voting has already started in a lot of these states. >> john: yeah. >> al gore: and i think mitt romney has got to take some risks, and i'm sure he has been practicing this art we talked about before. being aggressive without seeming mean. >> john: uh-huh. >> eliot: debite tonight, job numbers friday. so i think he has got to seize the moment tonight. >> cenk: when we come back we'll go to michael shure in san francisco because we'll show us
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. we have the first presidential debate tonight. vice president gore, governor spitzer spitzer, john fugelsang, as well as myself. in the end do you think these debates matter? >> al gore: oh i think they do matter. it is the last thing between the conventions and the election and it's really the only
occasion in the key period when as many -- tens of millions of voters, probably 50 million tonight, who knows see both candidates on equal footing, face-to-face, yeah, i think they matter. >> cenk: i went back and looked at the debates and who won them in the insta polling. eight out of the last nine have gone to the democrats. but the media spin afterwards is enormous. vice president gore actually won by seven points according to the american people and then the media spun it. how much does that matter? >> al gore: i think it matters a huge amount and it underscores what you said at the beginning of the show. now that we have social media, the people don't have to depend as much on the spinners. i remember after the first
debate, my partisans there certainly felt as the instant polls showed that i had done really well, and the bush people -- they had long faces, and they -- they felt the exact opposite, and i remember bill daily telling the people who were prepared to go into the press room to start spinning the outcome, he said don't gloat. don't gloat. [ laughter ] >> cenk: yeah. >> al gore: so it matters an awful lot, and everyone has learned how much it matters. there are very sophisticated strategies. >> jennifer: it is four years after 2008 and twitter was just coming into being and i think it will change the influence of the media a bit. i have said that i think that
the media will not want the president to win this, because it will shut down the election too quickly, and that that would mean that the show -- monkey is dead, show is over. i think they will want to prolong it and declare mitt romney a winner. >> cenk: at home did you see the democrats saying hey, they won eight out of nine of the debates? no, they always declare it as even. >> eliot: i think what jennifer just said is so important. there is no more the media anymore. there is no one outlet that will dominate and dictate who says what. we have 10 million people who will be spreading their own visions of what they heard and think.
>> john: but the folks blogging are not ratings driven. and the media will try to make it appear much tighter than it is. what matters more in a debate like this the actual words or the tone? people remember the collected demeanor. >> jennifer: i think that's exactly right. >> john: do words matter more? >> al gore: well, no, i think all of the amazing findings coming out over the last decade and more have been startling in showing how -- what we think matters, logic, facts, and all of that, actually are often mustered by people in support of their preconceived conclusions that are framed -- that are arrived at often emotionally. but -- but facts do matter and i'll give you an example.
we were all here covering the republican convention. a lot of fun being with you guys incidentally. we have had a blast here. but i remember when paul ryan made his speech that night, while the speech was still going on, we were watching the tweets come up pointing out that he had blatantly misrepresented one of the key stories that he told. and i'll tell you, i think that his inability to really give any kind of boost to the romney/ryan ticket has been shaped as much as anything else by the fact that he did a belly flop in that speech because the social media picked him up on it right away before the speech was even over. >> jennifer: it's an interesting thing. maybe the main stream media will be influenced by the twitter
>> cenk: we're back on current's politically direct coverage of the first presidential debate. it's coming up in just a little bit. going to be a lot of fun. john fugelsang has a question for all of us. >> john: as long as we're all celebrating, zinger watts 2012 if you had the chance to be in jim lehrer's seat, and apparently he is very angry about the criticism of the
casting this year, if you could sit in his seat what is the question you would ask each of these candidates. >> jennifer: you go first. >> john: me? >> jennifer: yes. >> john: i would ask governor romney if he succeeds in repealing roe v wade and a woman terminates a pregnancy, who has a longer jail sentence the woman or the doctor. and does he think people who smoke marijuana deserve to be in jail. >> cenk: that's a good one. >> john: vice president? >> al gore: i would ask them both about climate change. governor romney used to be a real leader on climate.
and then the timing makes it seem that maybe he completely changed his position when he first started thinking about running for president. and i would ask, you know, a different version of the same question to president obama. i -- it's no secret. i have written this. i would have liked to see him do a lot more on climate, but i give him credit for the difficult things that he did do. but i would try to bring out from him whether in the sec term he is going to do what needs to be done. >> cenk: president obama is using an ad where mitt romney was outside of a coal plant and he was saying some great things about we have to do something about pollution. >> eliot: i would ask mitt romney this question because he is hiding behind federalism on
the healthcare issue. if the individual mandate was good policy as a matter of logic in health care for massachusetts, why isn't it good policy for new york north carolina, california? don't tell me about states making their own decisions, isn't it still good policy? and if not why not? because i don't think there is an answer to that. for the president this may be too granular but it goes to his capacity to govern. i would say will you make the filibuster reform in the senate something you really push on? because if he can get the senate -- and i think we'll have democratic majority in the senate, and we have the white house, then you put john boehner in a corner then i think he can govern so much more effectively, and yet nobody is talk about it. >> jennifer: my questions would be along those lines.
mitt romney signed grover norquist's pledge in 2006. and i would want to know are you still bound by that pledge? and are you going to pledge out here that you will never raise taxes? and on the president on the flip side. if he has the same configuration in congress, how is he going to get the pledge signers to agree to compromise on anything. >> cenk: i think i would love to ask them two questions. one is about civil liberties. do you think that the president of the united states of america has the right to execute u.s. citizens abroad without a trial in without due process. i would love to see the president's answer on that. because he has done it. i would love to see mitt romney say yes or no on that issue, and of course the most important thing is campaign finance
reform. 84% of americans believe that money has a corrupting influence on politics what would you do specifically to try to stop the influence of money in politics. i know the president favors a constitutional amendment, and i don't know that romney has any plan, so i would love to hear his answer. >> john: that's a great question. and we want to know what you think as well to keep on tweeting. when we come back michael shure will join us from san francisco meditating on the awful possibility of what would happen if there was actually a tie in this presidential campaign. we'll be right back after this.
>> cenk: back on current's politically direct coverage of the first presidential debate of 2012. we have david shuster in denver and michael shure in the war room in san francisco. michael, i understand you are about to tell me there could be a tie. how would that happen? >> there are two different ways of getting to a tie -- well, there are several, but there are two i'm going to look at here. giving virginia new hampshire nevada and wisconsin to the president. then give colorado to romney ohio, iowa north carolina and florida to romney. and you'll see it is 270 to 268. the state of maine does it by congressional district. if approximate romney wins one
congressional district in maine, then it's possible we could have a tie in the electoral college. a better way of doing that is giving obama new hampshire, ohio, and wisconsin, and then seeing romney run the board here. florida, north carolina, virginia, iowa colorado, and nevada, and then you have an actual 269-269 tie. i do understand however, if the president talks about climate change tonight, tennessee could move into his corner. [ laughter ] >> cenk: that last scenario is not that implausible. that would be the romney comeback accept air you. if he could make a comeback we would win all of the states that michael just mentioned. >> eliot: not happening.
no conceivable way. >> jennifer: let's let the vice president talk about what happens in there is a tie. >> al gore: if there is a tie, the house of representatives votes in a very unusual procedure where each state delegation gets one vote. so if the majority of the members of congress from that state are in one party, and if they all stick to their party loyalty, then that determines the one vote of that state. never been done. never been done so -- >> eliot: does washington, d.c. get a vote in that? >> al gore: no absolutely not. they don't have a vote -- >> eliot: at anytime. >> john: it would be great to see our republican friends demanding a recount. >> cenk: and the fact that north carolina is still not red on that map that michael is showing
is such a bad sign for mitt romney. because if he has any shot at winning, that has to be way red at this point in the election. >> eliot: the only way he has a way of winning is by representing each party by the square miles. but there's no conceivable way he gets 270. >> al gore: can we talk for a minute about the 47% speech. >> cenk: please. >> al gore: after the republican convening, it was kind of flat for the republicans. they got just a little bit of a boost, not much. then the democratic convention largely thanks to jennifer grandholm was a huge success, and really it gave a lot of momentum to the president. >> jennifer: yep. >> al gore: and then you had the
awkward statement about libya by mitt romney and then just a few days later this 47% speech. i was thinking of that -- when you were talk about north carolina. i saw an interview of a formally undecided voter in north carolina who said that did it for me. >> cenk: i saw an interview with a guy who just turned republican in the last four years, and he said no i'm back. he said i can't have -- >> al gore: i just want to give this quote. my angalu great writer, fantastic woman, she said if somebody tells you who they are, believe them the first time. and i think that kind of settles in for me a little bit. and a lot of people reacted to that 47% comment that way.
>> eliot: that video was so authentic. most of the time we look at him, and he doesn't sound like he is giving us what he really thinks. >> cenk: i don't agree. i think he was doing the same thing he always does -- >> john: yes, because he has become a moral leonard zelig. he believes in one thing. he is meant to be president. and that's why his flip flops all make sense. >> eliot: i have listened to that tape a hundred times -- you all have -- but he said it with a conviction in his voice that was better than when he speaks elsewhere. >> john: governor rich people pay middle class people to blame
poor people. and that's where we are. this 47% is not obama's base. it includes active and retired military, seniors, and the poor. these are the very people governor romney was supposed to be trying to get. >> cenk: i think jonathan had the best point. he said since he said it in private, people will give it more credence. so whatever he stays in public, they are going to discount. that's why it was devastating, because right or wrong, the american people thought that's the real mitt romney. >> jennifer: and then yesterday we have the tape of ryan coming out in a speech saying that 30% of america want a welfare state, do not want to achieve the american dream which is just a
pile on of that same ethos of that half of the country, or 30% of the country -- >> ayn rand. >> jennifer: exactly right. i agree with eliot i think behind closed doors that he really does think that. i really think that that's how he believes -- >> eliot: can i add an footnote to that. it doesn't mean he is not a generous soul and a good compassionate person but he does believe that there is a big percentage of our public that doesn't aspire to work on its own. >> jennifer: i agree. >> cenk: one thing that got a little overlooked is who he thinks is the middle class. i think that goes towards this conversation. >> al gore: what was his cutoff? >> cenk: 200 to $250,000.
[ laughter ] >> cenk: when he says i'm working for the middle class he means people making $250,000 -- >> al gore: i have to defend him on this. and i believe the exact phrase was up to $200,000. and there are statements from president obama that gives a similar range of points in the opposite direction but i think your point is valid. >> eliot: can we come back -- john was making a hugely important point that the folks in the 47% pay payroll tax. but there was an amazing chart our tax system is almost directly proportional. people who earn 4% of the income pay 4% of the taxes. people who earn 20% of the income pay 20% of the taxes. but there are people in the
bottom groups pay as much tax as the others -- >> cenk: and that's not right. >> eliot: you can debate the philosophy -- >> cenk: it should be a lot more aggressive than that. there was a great article about the politicrat. that say hey dour you. >> john: he doesn't believe trickle-down works. and number two and even more damning is when he said this 47% comment, the fact is these are the people he should be trying to reach, and he really i think managed to alienate a lot of republicans too. and the fact is we finally found
one kind of tax subsidy the gop doesn't like. >> al gore: here is a statistic on concentration of wealth. i had the occasion to go back and have somebody fact check it for me and really run it to ground. sam walton and his brother bud walton, founded wal-mart. their six children -- actually five children and one daughter-in-law, the six -- these six individuals in the next generation now have more wealth than the bottom 30% of the american people. >> cenk: it's a stunning fact. >> al gore: i'm sure they are good people and all of that. it's not an attack on them but it is a vivid illustration of how our country is getting so unequal. and by the way, the ability of people to go into the stores and
buy things and get the economy in healthier shape is severely damaged when all of that wealth is at the top. >> jennifer: what is so interesting to me is the sense of victimization that those who are very wealthy feel about this discussion on the tax policy. and it's not an attack on them. >> eliot: martin wolf said that something that is gaining popularity in europe is a wealth tax. there is a notion that you do have a wealth tax to permit overtime -- >> cenk: i wish them a lot of luck on that. we have about twoing minutes before the debate. i want to ask you guys who do
you think is going to win? don't play the expectations game. eliot? >> eliot: i think barack obama. i think mitt romney tries too hard. >> cenk: vice president? >> al gore: i think in a funny way, romney may be liberated by the fact that he is so far behind, and maybe a little looser in his presentation. i think that the president will win the debate but worry the -- vis-a-vis the expectations that romney may exceed his expectations a little more than the president does. >> cenk: governor grandholm? >> jennifer: i agree with you. i think the president will do well. i think romney has the potential to overplay his aggressiveness and need to overcome. if there is a tie, it goes to romney, and if the president is
calm and cool, he wins. >> john: i think democrats underestimate governor romney at their own demise. >> cenk: i think mitt romney if he is overly aggressive, he will lose ground, if he is underaggressive that will be a problem. it will be tough to hit that window. so i think there's some chance he overreaches, and if he overreaches, it could look ugly. so we'll see how it plays out. so obviously you will be watching the debate with us here. you are going to see the tweets as we carry the debate